Food packaging manufacturer launches ‘fit for purpose’ UK R&D centre

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

The R&D centre has been revamped over the past two years. Credit: Eviosys
The R&D centre has been revamped over the past two years. Credit: Eviosys

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Food Manufacture visited the relaunched Eviosys R&D centre in Wantage, Oxfordshire, last month (November 2023) to learn more about the firm’s mission to become the food industry’s sustainable packaging partner of choice.

Eviosys was founded in 2021 with a focus on manufacturing tin-plate food cans and ends, aerosol cans, metal closures and promotional packaging. Formerly a division of packaging firm Crown, it is now operates independently as part of the KPS Capital Partners portfolio.

The firm has a presence in 18 different countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, employing 6,700 people and operating 45 facilities, including R&D centres in Wantage, Paris, Aprilia and Murcia. It also runs seven manufacturing plants in the UK.

The R&D centre in Wantage spearheads the division and has been totally revamped over the past two years in order to the best meet the needs of Eviosys and its customers. Today, the facility possesses a state-of-the-art materials and component testing laboratory, as well as a dedicated food processing area and pilot manufacturing facility.

This enables the Eviosys R&D team to work closely with its customers to create products and solutions that enhance their processes while being able to accelerate their time to market. The firm also utilises trends analysis during the development of new packaging concepts in order to ensure it is innovative and forward-thinking in its approach.

In 2022, it managed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 16% compared to 2020 levels and hopes to achieve a 30% reduction by 2030. One innovation that is driving such progress is Ecopeel, a packaging product that was initially developed in partnership with a customer that manufactures canned fish. Delivering a 20% CO2 reduction, Eviosys said that it is five times faster to fill, easier to open and easier to empty.

David Hall, R&D director at Eviosys, greeted Food Manufacture on the day of the visit and described the journey the team has been on to ensure the centre is truly “fit for purpose​”.

The past two years have been about making this space do what we need it to do going forward, not replicating what we had before,” ​Hall explained.

We took a step back and considered exactly the kind of facility that we wanted and how our people wanted to work. We do not have compartmentalised labs which allows our people to work together and creates a great environment for collaboration. I am really proud of what we have created.”

On its founding, Eviosys laid out a mission statement focused on three core principles: enhancing, developing and supporting. Hall described the transition period a “surreal experience​” but emphasised that setting out these principles was crucial for the team to clearly “define​” its purpose.

We sat down as a senior team, asked how we can add value and what should we be doing as we move forward​,” he added.

We not only want to add value but we want to do that with integrity, focused on sustainability, health and safety and helping other areas of the business. Setting standards and living by those standards is central to everything we want to achieve​.”

Looking to the future, Hall emphasised that Eviosys is keen to stay ahead of the game on sustainability initiatives and is investing a lot in innovation and “cutting edge​” approaches as a result.

We need to lead our suppliers down the right road and set a standard for the whole industry​,” he said.

We will never move away from light weighting and cost reduction work, as that goes hand in hand with material reduction and sustainability. But we also want to look at our manufacturing processes and think about potential step changes.”

In other news, Food Manufacture spoke to four energy experts about how the food and drink sector can switch to renewable energy.

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